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Olin Hatfield Chilson Edit Profile

federal judge

Olin Hatfield Chilson, American federal judge. Bar: Colorado bar 1927.


Chilson, Olin Hatfield was born on November 22, 1903 in Pueblo, Colorado, United States. Son of Leonard and Annie (Mills) Chilson.


Bachelor of Laws, University Colorado, 1927.


Born in Pueblo, Colorado, Chilson received an LL.B. from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1927. He was in private practice in La Jara, Colorado in 1927, in Greeley, Colorado from 1927 to 1928, and then in Loveland, Colorado until 1954. He was a District attorney of Eighth Judicial District of Colorado from 1940 to 1948.

He was an Assistant secretary of U.S. Department of the Interior from 1956 to 1957, and was a U.S. Undersecretary of Interior from 1957 to 1958. He returned to private practice in Denver, Colorado from 1958 to 1960. Chilson was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 1, 1960, and received his commission on March 5, 1960.

He assumed senior status on December 31, 1973. Chilson served in that capacity until his death. Chilson was involved with discussions about the final destiny of Ellis Island while he was with the Interior Department.

While the future of Ellis Island was still largely undetermined after its closure in 1954, Chilson used his influence to support a plan formed by the American Museum of Immigration, Inc. The AMI sought to build an immigration museum at the base of the statue of liberty and did not wish to see a competing entity formed on Ellis Island. The development of the property was a very real concern as Ellis Island was put up for auction once it became clear that no government agency wanted to make use of it.

As the General Services Administration (which took control of the property after it was essentially abandoned by the Department of Immigration and Naturalization) was attempting to dispose of the Ellis Island property, Chilson informed the GSA that the creation of any national immigration museum at Ellis Island "would be in direct conflict with a program endorsed by President Eisenhower and the Department of the Interior in 1954, to establish the American Museum of Immigration in the base of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, on Liberty Island." In reply, GSA Administrator Franklin G. Floete assured Chilson that "we will not recommend the use of this property as a museum or historical monument without first consulting your Department." They also suggested that any future museum might be best placed on Ellis Island. Other AMI members disagreed, but to little avail. The whole argument was rendered moot when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Proclamation 3656 in 1965 and added Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty National Monument.


  • Bar: Colorado bar 1927.


On February 19, 1960, Chilson was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado vacated by William L. Knous. Public outcry against the development induced President Dwight D. Eisenhower to suspend the sale and explore other options.


Church members should support and resourcing their institutions to reflect on political issues in the light of Christian faith.


The family is encompassing a wider range of options than that of the two-generational unit of parents and children.


Organizer, secretary 2Big Thompson Soil Conservation District, 1940-1947. Assistant secretary public land management Department Interior, 1956-1957, under secretary interior, 1957-1958. Director Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, 1951-1955.

Legal consultant Colorado Water Conservation Board, 1954-1956. Member Loveland School Board, 1945-1955. Trustee Boettcher Foundation.

Member American Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association (past president), Larimer County Bar Association (past president), Alumni Association University Colorado (past president), Phi Alpha Delta, Alpha Tau Omega. Clubs: Mason, Rotarian, Denver Country.


Married Marian Cole, August 18, 1929. 1 son, John Hatfield.

Leonard Chilson

Annie (Mills) Chilson

Marian Cole